Microsoft and Xamarin tighten mobile app-development ties

Microsoft and cross-platform mobile-app development vendor Xamarin are tightening their technical and marketing ties under a new partnership deal.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft and Xamarin are stepping up their integration work to make it easier for developers to write apps for iOS and Android devices using C#.


On November 13, the pair announced there's now tighter sales and marketing collaboration between the two companies.

Visual Studio already supports integration with Xamarin as an add-in. But under the new partnership, this integration goes a step further.

Xamarin is releasing today full integration with Microsoft's Portable Class Library projects in iOS and Android apps. This PCL support was built jointly with Microsoft, Xamarin execs said.

The pair also announced that Xamarin's recently launched Xamarin University training course is going to be free to MSDN subscribers starting in January 2014. And MSDN subscribers also will be getting new trial and pricing options for Xamarin subscriptions for individuals and teams as part of the deal.

Xamarin now claims to have 400,000 developers, addding more than 1,000 a day, according to CEO and cofounder Nat Friedman. The majority of apps built using Xamarin are line-of-business/enterprise apps, according to Xamarin officials.

While Xamarin's founders were part of Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program for years, Microsoft officials maintained a somewhat skeptical attitude toward Xamarin for a while because they weren't sure they wanted to extend Visual Studio support for non-Microsoft platforms. That changed once Microsoft removed restrictions on partners for extending VS to support non-Microsoft platforms.

Xamarin officials have maintained that C# is the ideal mobile-development language and the one that's easiest for mobile devs of all stripes to use to write iOS, Android and Windows 8 apps.

To date, "we've been doing this work largely on our own," said Friedman. But a couple of months ago, Microsoft approached Xamarin about creating a tighter partnership, Friedman said.

Friedman declined to disclose terms of the deal, but said there was little money exchanged between the two as part of the new arrangement.

"This is just the start of a wider future partnership with Microsoft," Friedman said. He noted that there could be opportunities for Xamarin to provide cross-platform development support for other Microsoft products like Office and SharePoint.

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